UPDATE: Judge Don Cohn has passed away. We do not know the details but we have triple confirmed it.
They took it to the streets yesterday by the REGJB. A bunch of lawyers showing up after their mid-afternoon Pilates class and before their 8pm Zoom gin and tonic hour with friends. In between, according to David Ovalle's twitter, with a h/t to Phil Reizenstein who apparently attended and was videoing the event, as well as some other video clips sent directly to us, the lawyers marched, and chanted- including a jazzy "hey hey..ho ho..KFR must go" in front of the SAO as old, white, male, SAO investigators looked on with a bemused look on their faces at times. No trash cans were set on fire, but some lawyers did recycle their water bottles.
The most important thing is that members of the legal community- old and young, male and female, black, white and Hispanic, showed solidarity with a movement that is changing the country and maybe the world.
Which brings us to the Defund The Police movement. Initially we were opposed because we did not understand it. But the more we think about it, the more we think the idea has merit. In our view defunding the police does not mean shutting the police department down. What it really means is moving funds for community involvement and responses to non-dangerous issues to a different group.
We cannot count the times a distressed family has shown up in our office recounting a story where they called the police because of an issue and the cops ended up arresting one (or more) of them. If we think about it, it was normally an African-American family and white cops. The fact is that many police officers get burned out. They end up resenting parts of the community they serve and they take their anger out on innocent people that have very little ability to fight back.
Missing child or wandering grandparent. Loud music from the neighbors. Environmental complaints. Identity theft. Stolen or vandalized cars. Graffiti. These problems do not need armed officers responding. A different community resource department can handle them. This will go a long way to defusing the resentment between the police and the citizens they serve by removing points of contact that simply have not worked for the last 50 plus years.
The second issue is to remove Internal Affairs Investigations from the Police Department and authorize a Citizen Review Board staffed by citizens, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement. Much like the JNC has lawyers and non-lawyers making judicial recommendations to the governor. A CRB would employ investigators and make recommendations for criminal or departmental prosecutions. And if the case were to go to court, much like the State established a series of Regional Counsel Offices to handle PD conflicts, the State should establish a separate prosecutors office to handle public corruption and police prosecutions. It is a conflict of interest for a prosecutor's office to work hand-in-hand with police officers on 98% of their cases, and prosecute police officers in the other 2% (or whatever the number is) of cases.
These are our thoughts. Have at it. And take it to the streets when you have a chance. And recycle those water bottles you take with you. And ease off those gin and tonics at night. But we are in favour of Pilates classes.
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